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Newly reelected Michigan GOP official seeks help investigating Wayne County voters

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — A newly reelected Michigan GOP vice chairwoman is recruiting Republicans to photograph addresses used on some Wayne County voter registrations, according to an email obtained by the The Detroit News.

Marian Sheridan of Oakland County was elected grassroots vice chairwoman at Saturday's state convention. The position is one of six vice chairs who work alongside the state party chair.

Two days after the election, she sent an email to GOP delegates on Monday thanking them for their support and asking for their help "on election integrity," according to the message provided by multiple sources.

Sheridan claimed there were "thousands of voters in Wayne County who were not registered at legal addresses" — it's unclear how she determined what is a legal address.

Marian Sheridan, of the Michigan Trump Republicans, organized a rally on Saturday, December 14, 2019, in Bloomfield Hills.

"Many of these voters were registered to vacant lots or abandoned buildings," Sheridan said, seeking individuals who are willing to help and "able to drive to some of these addresses and take pictures to provide proof."

She added, "The goal is to collect a minimum of 100 such pictures."

Sheridan didn't respond Monday to a request for comment.

Eligible voters without a permanent home address, like those who are homeless, are allowed to list a street corner or park address on a registration form, according to the Michigan Secretary of State's office. They can also list an address where they receive mail, according to the office.

In addition, out-of-date voter registrations are common across the country and, in themselves, have no impact on election outcomes, said Jake Rollow, spokesman for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat and Michigan's top election official.

"The Michigan Bureau of Elections continues its work to properly clean the state voter registration list," Rollow said.

Since the Nov. 3 election, Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump have attempted to discredit the results of Michigan's vote by claiming there was widespread fraud. However, they haven't provided evidence that backs up their claims.

President Joe Biden won Michigan 51%-48%, by 154,000 votes, 14 times Trump's margin of victory in 2016. Bipartisan county boards of canvassers have certified the results in the each county, and the Board of State Canvassers signed off on Michigan's tallies on Nov. 23.

Sheridan, the reelected grassroots vice chairwoman, was one of six plaintiffs in an unsuccessful lawsuit that sought to overturn Michigan's election results. Texas attorney Sidney Powell was one of the attorneys involved in the suit.

Michigan Republican Party Grassroots Vice Chairwoman Marian Sheridan sent this email to Republican delegates on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

In her Monday email to fellow Republicans, Sheridan said "the epicenter of this election travesty" was TCF Center, where absentee ballots were counted in Detroit. She asked individuals who were at the TCF Center to submit sworn affidavits about their experiences. The affidavits are "providing valuable clues to the puzzle that is now being assembled," Sheridan wrote.

"(T)o know where all the holes are we still need to understand how the election was rigged last November," Sheridan wrote.

Detroit has been the focus of unsubstantiated Republican claims of voter wrongdoing over the last three months.

Asked about Sheridan's push for photos of "abandoned" properties listed on voter registrations in Detroit, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, a Democrat, said it was concerning that Republicans continue to push claims about the election. The election was safe and secure, she said.

"Their fascination with Detroit speaks volumes," Byrum said. "When people tell you who they are, you've got to believe them."

The city experienced 51% turnout in the Nov. 3 election with 257,619 voters participating out of 506,305 registered voters, according to Detroit's official results. Turnout in other jurisdictions was significantly higher, such as Macomb County, the largest county in Michigan to vote for Trump. Participation in Macomb County was 71%.

On Saturday, the Michigan Republican Party held its statewide convention, electing Ann Arbor businessman Ron Weiser the new party chairman.

cmauger@detroitnews.com